Sunday, 29 June 2014

A Raid Over the River Asta

I had an opportunity for a game yesterday, so while Brazil were struggling to overcome Chile I set up a small table in sight of the TV, opened a beer and played through a very enjoyable skirmish.

It was an excuse to use the new river sections and bridges for the first time, so I created a rustic setting with a winding river, crossed by no less than 3 bridges, leading to a small settlement based around an inn and a watermill. This would be a section of the border between Medetia and Fleurie, ripe for a raid by a Medetian force while it was only lightly garrisoned. Strengths were around 30 figures per side, although the Fleurians would start with their irregular allies (a dozen Cossacks) off table, with random arrival times and locations.

The garrison are alert, but don't yet know where the attack will come from

A lone sentry on the main bridge.

He didn't need a roll to spot the main Medetian force when it appeared moments later!

Meanwhile groups of musketmen were dashing forward on the left.

One at a time or all together! That's one brave Fleurian. He was determined to get at least one shot off (he missed) and didn't last much longer, as might be expected.

Flanking support was coming into position as the main force stormed the bridge.

Although they'd been caught out by the speed of the enemy's initial approach, the Fleurians had managed to re-order themselves enough to be able to contest the main bridge while bringing musket fire to bear on the Medetian flanking groups. Both sides charged into the fray and it was a bloody affair on the bridge, with the Fleurians getting the better of the first clash. Lieutenant Valoran distinguished himself by killing no less than 3 enemy swordsmen in hand to hand fighting as well as a 4th by a superb pistol shot when an intrepid Medetian tried to wade the river below the bridge.

While the main action on the main bridge was attracting most of the defenders' attention, the Medetians were pushing round on both flanks too.

The fighting was getting fierce everywhere, and the Fleurians were driving forward on the bridge despite the odds against them. Medetian swordsmen were falling in droves under the flashing blades of the Fleurian officers. 

Attempts to cross the wooden bridge near the mill were met with deadly force, and the Fleurian's irregular allies were just about to arrive to shore up the right flank.

The Medetians hurried to send more men that way too, and the action was by now spread over much of the table as the Medetians closed in from 3 directions.

Things were coming to a head on the bridge though, and the two leaders finally met amidst the swirling melee.

After a couple of rounds Captain Corleone vanquished Lieutenant St Denis and the game was up for Fleurie.

After that there was still some tough fighting as the Cossacks entered the fray, but it was pretty much a mopping-up exercise for the Medetians. A few final pics:

Game over, with the Medetian flag planted in the middle of the settlement:

Lots of fun, and good to use the new terrain and scenery. I'd like to start developing a bit more of a storyline campaign with these games, possibly with some mild 'character' development, but I haven't decided on anything yet. Stand-alone skirmishes are good in the meantime, however, so no hurry.

Monday, 16 June 2014

A Mighty Tussle in Central Europe

Well I had an excellent Sunday (actually the previous Sunday but I had trouble getting this post to publish and have been away for a few days). Although it was a pleasant drive, and lunch outside was very nice, the superb weather was incidental. That's because I had the great pleasure of a visit to John Ray's where I played the part of the Duke of Wurttemberg in the next instalment of John's continent-spanning campaign.

The game was titled The Battle of Schwabisch Hall, a town (despite its name) that the Duke and his army of Wurttembergers and assorted allies from the Empire were attempting to defend. John had prepared a very interesting and challenging scenario, with the Prussians under Frederick himself launching a typical Alt Fritzian flanking attack on my outnumbered forces. A big treat for me was the invitation to contribute a brigade of Medetians who served as Bavarians in their pale blue. Accompanied by 2 small units of my heavy cavalry and a company of Jäger, 3 'Bavarian' battalions formed up alongside John's lovely troops as the Prussians marched into view.

I won't describe the battle itself as that's John's area, but I will say that it was very enjoyable, hugely entertaining, and it contained a few surprises! My Cuirassiers in particular had a tremendous time, and honour was served pretty much all round (although a couple of Prussian Dragoon colonels might be in for an ear bashing..)

As with my previous visit, the rules played out very smoothly and provided believable results throughout, along with a fair amount of tension.

John was a very gracious host and I'm grateful to him for the effort he put into the game. A well thought out 14x7 (in places) foot table with lovely scenery and 1,200 figures didn't put itself together!  And everything fitted neatly into the campaign narrative which explained why the armies were where they were, and what the strategic situation was; very important for deciding on battle plans and potential lines of retreat should things go awry.

Altogether, with the battle and the excellent company, I had a great day and came away freshly inspired to face the rigours of my own painting schedule. I'm already looking forward to the next (big) game later in the year.